Feel Good Friday
May 20, 2005 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Metafilter has discussed the tsunami this year, and the dreadful aftermath, especially on childrenbefore, and we have discussed the various forms relief efforts can take. Old Skool web journaler turned author (book 1)(book 2) (book 3) organizes book drives every year for libraries. This year, she is organizing donors to supply basic school supplies for children in areas hit hard by the tsunami. The Kancheepuram District she is targeting for help has a large child labour problem, so giving these children what they need for an education is more than just books and pencils - it is a way to help them avoid the fate of so many of their peers, and to transition from 'child labourer' to 'child'. Pam is partnering with Asha for education. Her readers donated enough to hit the first two goals (approx $7000.00 so far), and the goal now is to supply every child in the region - $11,428 in total.

It costs $4.61 USD to supply one child with an educational kit.
posted by kristin (3 comments total)
Make no mistake, I am against child labor, and for child education. I notice that Pam's site makes no mention of child labor issues in her target district, so I cannot say what she may be thinking of in the way of addressing the issue. It does seem like she has done quite a bit of research on the villages in question, and may well be targeting established schools. However, please do not think that stopping child labor is as simple as taking the kids out of the sweatshop and issuing them $4.61 worth of school supplies.

The underlying problem is that the reason child laborers work is not because it's better than roaming the streets. They work because they must do so to survive. They work to have money for food and clothing for themselves and sometimes their families, just like we do. If we want to stop child labor, we have to deal with the base of the ol' Maslow pyramid and make sure these kids have their basic needs taken care of.
posted by ilsa at 10:17 AM on May 20, 2005

I agree ilsa, that it isn't as easy as I made it sound - clearly, there are limitations to the FPP size that restrict information.

In an ecomically poor area where access to even basic education isn't a given for all children in the best of circumstances, this gives an opportunity to make a signifigant difference to one person's life for a very, very small amount of money.

As well, it is a nice example of 'power of the internet' for the greater good, and it is always nice to see people who write books make such an effort to get books into the hands of children.
posted by kristin at 11:18 AM on May 20, 2005

I am very glad to see Asha get more donations, but I admit, I had the same thoughts as ilsa. I remember watching a program on sucessful campaigns to end child labour, only when they went back, they found the children had been forced by the new regulations out of good steady jobs into worse work, like rag picking. The underlying reason for their work (poverty, lack of a family wage) wasn't addressed.

I was also thinking, I may be cynical, but I don't know if education is the primary answer. Reading recently about maids who go from Sri Lanka to the Middle East to find work due to lack of money at home, the article talked about how Sri Lanka actually has a fairly good education system and many of the women had education, but this did not give them more opportunities. Education can grant social mobility to a few, but cannot change the whole social structure.
posted by jb at 11:40 PM on May 20, 2005

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